The Catenians

See how the Bursary Fund Helps to Change Lives


Young Australian volunteers have life changing experience 

Amy and friends improving life for people in Kibera,Kenya.

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In July I was fortunate to be part of a small group of girls visiting Kenya.In the first week of our trip we spent our   time in Laina Saba Primary School in Kibera slum. Kibera slum is one of the largest in the world and the children are some of the most underprivileged children in the world, so we were blown away by how happy and grateful they are for everything they have. Driving through the slum really emphasised to us the purpose of our visit. The conditions in which these people live is unimaginable and no photos online could ever have prepared us for the reality of the slum and really made us want to make a difference. Another project involved the building of a road for the Maasai community. A previous road up the hill in the area was trampled by elephants, leaving the community with the difficult task of going around the base of the hill to get to the other side and no way of getting   to the top. We spent time clearing rocks and trees and other obstacles out of the way to map out the path of the road. This will greatly reduce the travelling time for the community, therefore giving them time to do other important things.

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My trip to Kenya was an incredible, and eye opening, experience and I really feel I have developed spiritually, as well as personally, as a result. It was an honour to meet all the people that we met during the various projects and it was an amazing few weeks that I will never forget.  I would sincerely like to thank the Catenians for their contribution towards this trip and also my friends and family who sponsored and supported me throughout my fundraising efforts. 

Joe Digging water supply tunnels in Uganda.

This year I received £500 from the Catenian Bursary fund towards a trip to Uganda, to work with the Uganda based charity, Little Big Africa. The project we were to be involved in - known as Action Sitaru (with ‘Sitaru’ being the Lugisu word for ‘three’) – had three key aims; to improve access to clean water, to promote hygiene awareness and to promote knowledge of smokeless stoves.

I really enjoyed my experience in Uganda. I met some great people and learnt lots about making development work as the project wore on. I would say the key lesson we learnt was to work closely with the locals. Once again, I thank the Catenians for helping make the trip a reality! (Joe)


Lourdes – a great experience for Judith.

Travelling to Lourdes for the first time last week was not how I intended to spend my summer, however it would turn out to be a great experience and much more interesting then I previously expected. We did a variety of tasks –pushing wheelchairs, helping at the baths, stewarding the processions as well as participating in them, praying together. It was hard work starting at 8am and working through till 10pm but it was an amazing experience.

 May I take this opportunity to thank the Catenian Association for their generous donation helping finance my trip Lourdes, to where I am hoping very much to return next year.

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The experience at Lourdes leaves Vicky speechless.

Whenever I have been asked about my experience in Lourdes I’ve been left speechless.  No words, no actions, nothing can explain the journey I went on. On the lead up to Lourdes I didn’t really know what to expect and I certainly did not think I would return home having lived the best week of my life so far. On the first day when I stepped into the domain I was overwhelmed at how a place could be so busy but yet so peaceful and this feeling really meant a lot to me. .  I will never forget my first time in Lourdes, it was inspiring and it has made me a better person in the way I respect the world around me and I cannot wait to go back next year. Thanks to the Catenians.

(Vicky ) 

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Lourdes was no holiday.

My week at Lourdes was a very moving experience, in which I learnt a lot. Even though the trip took place during the summer break, we did not go there for a holiday. We all worked very hard to carry out our duties. My favourite moment at Lourdes was the late night youth service; I found this time very emotional.The youth mass was also one of my most memorable events, mainly because it was more lively and engaging. Also, the youth choir was astonishing. The people at Lourdes are very friendly.  I would definitely recommend Lourdes to other young people.

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Peter’s made some lifetime friends with HCPTin Lourdes

Visiting Lourdes was something of a tradition in my family, my first visit to Lourdes was when I was 4 with my mother and grandmother; followed by 2 more visits with each new brother. By 17, however I wanted the opportunity to give something back, to offer service to others in some way; and to push my own boundaries of faith and experience. Volunteering with HCPT was me was of doing this. My feelings on this day ranged from fear, of the unexpected, to isolation, as at this stage I knew nobody, and didn’t know what would be required or who I would be assigned to. . However, the spirit and kindness of those in Lourdes helped me to open up; to explore previously unexplored areas of my character and I was soon able to laugh, joke, sing and pray and be part of the group; both student volunteers and people in need. My duties mainly involved; tidying up, making tea, moving luggage and mostly moving my friend Anthony around the various sites we visited. This at times, was very hard work as Lourdes is a very hilly place. By the time we parted at Stansted I unexpectedly felt emotional and saddened to be separated from my group, and particularly Anthony, my friend. I am very grateful for the opportunity to volunteer as a helper with HCPT, and I felt that I made some lifelong friends. I hope to visit Lourdes again with HCPT, sometime in the future.

I would like to take this op-opportunity to thank the Catenian Association for their bursary, which contributed to my fare.


Second visit is even better for Erin.

On the 28th of July I, along with many others woke up with a hyped feeling, knowing that today we would be travelling to Lourdes. As I was returning to Lourdes after being a volunteer to Hexham and Newcastle dioceses in 2014 I was filled with happiness to know I was going back, many others that where travelling with us where first timers and had the look of fear and worry on their faces; not only did they have to endure a 31 hour coach journey but they had also volunteer themselves for 8 days of caring for other people, 8 days of being completely selfless.  Another highlight of the week for me was the reflection that took place at Lac de Lourdes, the whole group went up to the lake at night time, and we had time for prayer as the sun set across the water. We stayed at the lake for a couple of hours and had the chance to relax and socialise, it was simply beautiful. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the help we received from the Catenians.

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